COVID-19: Who’s actually trying to help prevent the spread of the virus?

Peyton Thompson, Editor in Chief

Due to the escalation of COVID-19, people have started taking preventative measures in order to stop the spreading. Acts of social distancing, quarantining at home, and the introduction of wearing masks when going out in public has also become a common occurrence. But how many people are taking these precautions seriously?

With most stores labeled as essential businesses, people are still going out and browsing the shelves. The parking lots are filled to the brim despite the number of people restricted to being in the store at a time. With as many people meandering around the isles at Lowe’s, in search of a new home improvement project, who’s to say how effective the stay at home order and these other attempts of preventing further spread of the virus have been.

There are some people who have started making masks out of bandanas and hair ties to wear when they run to the grocery store. Although using protective gear, these unnecessary outings are what increase the chances of spreading the virus, more than it already has.

Meanwhile, health professionals, who are risking their own safety, as well as the safety of their families to help suffering COVID-19 patients, are struggling with a shortage in the supply of medical masks.  

Some claim that this virus is not as bad as it’s been portrayed; they say it’s just like the flu, but who is to know for sure. The numbers are skewed every which way, due to the inaccurate estimate of cases and the lack of testing. Nobody knows exactly what this virus is because nobody has ever lived to see something of its similar atrociousness. For all we know, we could be the virus, we could be the problem, spreading not only the illness itself, but fear and panic in the wake of it all.

The public is fed answers that might as well be labeled appeasements, giving the people what they want to hear, what they expect to hear. In a way some of these answers are masks themselves, covering up the reality of what’s actually going on. It’s easier to focus on the absurdities of the situation, with stories of toilet paper hoarders and lines that wrap around the sides of grocery stores, than it is to focus on the cruel facts of the situation. Trending reports such as these hide the truth about why people are panicking, and why they are stockpiling for what feels like the end of the world. 

Uncertainty is the offender. The fear of the unknown is what’s crippling. These temporary solutions are essentially that; they are simply transient, merely a band aid to cover up the fact that nobody knows what the future holds. No one can say for certain where we’ll be within a week, a month, or even a year of this situation. People are so caught up in the unfairness of it all that they fail to consider the greater good: crushing the virus with the boot of a unified society. 

The naivety in the belief that going out just one more time, not wearing a mask just this once, running to the store for just a little while will hardly make a difference, is an issue. Sure, there’s the chance that you won’t get sick, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a carrier. This virus can live on a surface for an average of a few days and stay in the air for several hours. Someone could have caught the virus, had not shown any symptoms, and passed it on to somebody else before they even realized it.

Sensitivity towards this unavoidable game of “Infection” should be considered especially around people at high risk. Generally speaking, most cases seem to pop up around the elderly community, people with heart conditions, diabetes, and other afflictions. However, potentially anyone with underlying health complications could be considered at risk. With this being an upper respiratory disease, people with chronic respiratory afflictions, such as asthma, should be wary about where they’ve been and whom they’ve come in contact with.

The growth of the number of cases and deaths within the country should be of no surprise. By the time the US decided to act upon anything it was almost too late. At this point our numbers have surpassed both Italy and China’s reports, the purest reflection of our unsuccessful attempts of stopping this virus in its tracks.

It was not anyone’s initial intention to promote the making of an agoraphobic public, but staying inside seems to be the only effective solution to stop the spread of the virus. With the American people behaving like teenagers, finding appeal in doing the opposite of what they’ve been told, the situation can only worsen if actions continue to trend this way.

By putting ego aside and looking at the facts, people can begin to see what really needs to be done to decrease the spread of COVID-19. If our medical professionals can put their safety on the line, the American people can stand to be a bunch of couch potatoes while the world sorts itself out.